Fashion in the 1980s was more than just shoulderpads and giant hair, despite what some may purport. As fashion often goes, the dominant styles of the 1980s emerged both in stark contrast to, and in conversation with the sartorial inclinations immediately preceding. The 1970s saw long hemlines, wide-leg trousers, large lapels, and predominantly unfussy silhouettes. With the economic boom of the 1980s, however, came an embrace of over-the-topness of every kind. The mass-production of cheap fabrics like spandex and polyester meant more of everything stretchy and strange. The influx of women into the white-collar business world meant more inventive iterations of the skirt suit (and pantsuit) than ever before. The emergence of post-punk and new-wave styles meant more plaid, more combat boots and more hair gel - on bodies all across the gender spectrum. Costume jewelry, ruched skirts, bare shoulders, big shoulders, asymmetry, androgyny, hairspray and kitten heels all came to the fore of the sartorial consciousness in the 1980s. Some of the more obvious major style icons of the day include Madonna (cone bras, curls and kitschy Christian iconography) and Prince (silk, marabou, flamboyant blazers, and Elizabethan-esque ruffles).
Five runway shots of women modeling various get-ups involving bustiers.
A woman with long brown hair wearing a tweed blazer with a brocade button, velvet skirt, ruffled shirt, and green silk bowtie.
Advertisement for Trash and Vaudeville featuring a woman holding a stun gun in a barren landscape with a monster on a dead fallen tree.
A model in a chartreuse suit with a white handkerchief in her pocket is surrounded by young boys playing on the street where she walks.
A woman wearing a red collarless suit and gold brocade earrings.
New York Woman March 1989
A woman with slicked back hair wearing an army-style jacket with gold buttons with a large flower and velvet bow near her neck.
A woman wearing a white blazer, white jacket, black skirt, shirt and tie and straw hat.
A woman in a pink silk dress and patterned tights lies on a floral patterned bed listening to tapes.